Check out these 8 reasons why your abs aren’t showing and find out how to fix it once and for all.
After doing many ab exercises and eating clean, if you still cannot see your abs, it can be very discouraging. Sometimes you can barely see them, and sometimes you are lean but still unable to see anything.
But according to Max Posternak, you can make a few fixes to your lifestyle that should fix your “not being able to see the abs” problem.
Max Posternak is the founder of Gravity Transformation, a website focused on giving tips and training guidance for people looking to improve their fitness and lose weight. His YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers.
Check out what he had to say on the matter below.
8 Reasons Why Your Abs Aren’t Showing and How To Fix It
1. Body Fat Percentage
That is the most obvious issue. “The amount of fat you have on your body will play one of the biggest impacts on how visible your abs are,” Posternak says.
Unfortunately, the belly is one of the last places that will drop that fat – you will see your face, arms and hands changing shape before you get to see your belly getting smaller.
The key is being consistent with your diet and sticking to a caloric deficit “made up of single-ingredient foods for long enough for the fat to start coming off the areas close to your centre of mass.”
The amount of fat you need to have to be able to see visible abs is different to each person because everybody has a different fat storage pattern.
2. Workout Mistakes
If your diet is lean and you still don’t see your abs, you could be making many workout mistakes that are preventing you from seeing them.
One of the biggest issues that Posternak sees when people do abs workout is that they perform too many reps without any weight at all, focusing on bodyweight movements.
Experiment with a variety of rep ranges and add weight to your core workout.
3. Compound Exercises Are Not Enough for Your Abs
Squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, chin-ups. These all target your ab muscles not efficiently, although it does put a little bit of tension when you are doing them.
To develop your abs, you must do direct ab exercises.
If you are beyond the beginner phase, it’s unlikely that compound exercises will develop your abs any further than where they are currently.
If you want to maximise your abs engagement, make sure to include isolation exercises that target your core.
4. Focusing Too Much on Static Exercises
Planks are great for core stability and targeting the transverse abdominus, but only doing planks and other static ab exercises is not that amazing for building great ab muscles.
That is because the eccentric and concentric phases of an exercise offer invaluable benefits that you simply don’t get with static exercises.
5. Abs Underdeveloped
Perhaps you are choosing the right exercises and eating correctly. What could be wrong? Your abs are not developing as much as they could because you are not training through a full range of motion. And that is a key element when training any muscle, including your abs.
Training a muscle through a full range of motion is better for muscle growth compared to only doing partial reps. There are instances where partial reps are beneficial, but in general full range of motion is what you should be trying to achieve.
To maximise results, it’s important that you include exercises that train your abs through a full range of motion. Posternak says that crunches can be good, but they prevent you from fully extending your back during the eccentric phase. To counter that, you can do crunches on a stability ball or a decline bench.
6. Treating Abs as an Afterthought
If you are serious about getting a six-pack and you letting the ab exercises only to the finish portion of your training session, that is likely going to interfere with your abdominal muscle-building results.
Research shows that the muscle groups that you train first in your workout will have better progress compared to those muscle groups you train towards the end.
However, it is important to note that the abs are an important stabiliser muscle group for many other lifts. You don’t want to exhaust your abs directly before performing deadlifts or squats as that will increase your chance of getting a lower back injury.
7. Mind-Muscle Connection
Not having a mind-muscle connection to your abs when doing ab workouts is a common problem people make when training their core. When doing crunches, for example, a person can accidentally let the hip flexors take over the movement.
One solution to this is to focus on the specific muscle group when performing an exercise.
8. Selecting Poor Ab Exercises
Your abs are a conjunction of many different muscles and each of them needs to be trained for a well-developed core. For that, you need to have a minimal understanding of the abs’ anatomy and know how to select proper ab exercises.
To hear Posternak’s explanation on each of the topics above, click on the video below.
Losing belly fat can be difficult for several reasons:
- Genetics: Genetics can play a role in where your body stores fat. Some people are more prone to storing fat in their bellies, which can make it more difficult to lose.
- Hormones: Hormones, such as cortisol and insulin, can affect how your body stores fat, especially in the belly area. High levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, can lead to increased belly fat.
- Age: As you age, your metabolism slows down, making it more difficult to lose weight and belly fat.
- Poor Diet: A diet high in processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats can contribute to increased belly fat. Eating a healthy diet is important for losing belly fat.
- Lack of Exercise: Exercise is crucial for burning calories and reducing belly fat. A sedentary lifestyle can make it more difficult to lose belly fat.
- Sleep: Lack of sleep can affect hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, making it harder to lose belly fat.
Overall, losing belly fat can be difficult due to genetics, hormones, age, poor diet, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep. However, making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress can help reduce belly fat over time.